NHS Dentist Student: Everything You Need to Know

Keen to find out more about what it means to be an NHS dentist student? 

The NHS is one of the most trusted and appreciated institutions in the UK, and at the heart of everything that the service provides is its staff’s hard work and kindness. There are over 350 different careers and roles in the NHS, and every one of them makes a difference every day. One role in the NHS that is sometimes overlooked or neglected is dentistry. 

The NHS is calling out for NHS dentist students amidst recent research that has found that 9 in 10 UK NHS dental practices are no longer accepting new adult patients. 

So we have put everything you need to know about becoming an NHS dentist student. With information about NHS bursaries for medical students and how to apply for NHS student finance, we’ve got the answers for you!

How to Become an NHS Dentist Student 

As you would expect, to become an NHS dentist student, you must register and apply to a dental school. All the dental schools in the UK are regulated by the General Dental Council (GDC), and you will be required to apply for one of their GDC Dentistry Programmes and Qualifications available. These courses are available at the below institutions: 

  • Cardiff University 
  • Newcastle University 
  • King’s College London 
  • Queen Mary University of London 
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Birmingham 
  • Royal College of Surgeons of England 
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Liverpool 
  • University of Sheffield.

The competition to get into dental schools can be pretty fierce. Therefore as well as the standard requirements, you may be required to sit the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) or the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT). 

To practice as a dentist, you must have an approved degree in dentistry, and you could find yourself studying for at least five years to complete your undergraduate degree. You’ll need to register with the GDC to practice as a qualified dentist. 

To get into a dental school, you’ll usually need high grades at A-level, with science subjects such as biology and chemistry being required. However, if you don’t have the A-levels or the equivalent required, then some dental schools have a one-year pre-dental course that you can apply for. 

What is the NHS Student Support Fund? 

The NHS learning support fund (NHS LSF) is one of the NHS grants for students that offers additional support to eligible students while studying for their healthcare degree. To be eligible for: 

  • Training grant of £5,000 per academic year 
  • £2000 parental support – if you have at least one dependent child under 15 
  • Money back for temporary accommodation costs and excess travel costs. 
  • Students experiencing financial hardship (exceptional support fund) 

To be eligible, you must be: 

  • Eligible for a tuition-free and maintenance support loan (to help with living costs) from the Student Loans Company (this includes Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales, Student Awards Agency for Scotland and Student Finance Northern Ireland. 
  • Live in the UK 
  • A current student in full-time education 
  • Studying one of the following courses: 
  • Dental therapy or dental hygiene 
  • Midwifery 
  • Nursing 
  • Occupational therapy 
  • Parademics 
  • Podiatry 
  • Speech and language therapy 
  • General practitioner 

You will not be eligible if: 

  • You are being paid for your time off to study by your employer to complete your course and are still being paid a wage or your usual salary. 
  • You are being paid other forms of financial support while you train, such as paid sandwich years, salary support, or by Health Education England. 

NHS Bursary for Medical Students 

Funding is available if you are studying to become a dentist via the NHS student bursary in Wales and England. If you’re an eligible full-time student, you can apply for a: 

  • Tuition fee contribution 
  • Means-tested bursary based on your household income 
  • Non-means tested grant of £1,000 per academic year. 

Please note that the rules and eligibility may differ for NHS international students or those with student visas.